Who’s who in the race for the 2017 Rugby World Cup?

The Rugby World Cups are coming.

And with the Rugby World Series just around the corner, it’s important we know who’s up and coming and who’s in.

Here are our 25 players to watch in 2017.


George Ford, New Zealand coach Ford’s teams have finished as runners-up in seven of the past 10 World Cups, but he’s not about to stop there.

Ford’s been coaching New Zealand since 2013 and has been in charge for the last two seasons, winning the 2017 World Cup in Australia.


Ben Smith, England’s No.1 scrumhalf Smith, 37, has been coaching England since 2003, and he’s been in England’s World Cup team since 2010.

He won the 2017 tournament.


Scott Barrett, Australia’s No 1 try scorer Barrett, who was born in New Zealand but moved to England in 2011, was in charge of the Wallabies for three seasons and has led them to the 2016 Rugby World Rugby Championship title.


Joe Moody, Australia scrum half Moody, 31, is in charge at the Wallaby helm for three years and led Australia to the World Cup title in 2016.


Michael Hooper, England lock Hooper is in the middle of his 10th World Cup campaign and was in the Wallabys backline for three games in 2017 and is the only player who’s won the tournament in 2018.


David Pocock, England hooker Pocock was in Australia for the entirety of last year’s World Series and was at the heart of the England side that defeated Argentina in the quarterfinals.


Alex Cuthbert, New Zealander Cuthbet, 32, is the first New Zealan to lead England to the 2017 Cup.


Tom Wood, Wales hooker Wood, 32 has led Wales to the Rugby Championship since 2009, the only man to win the tournament twice, and the last to win it in 2015.


James Horwill, England flyhalf Horwill was in England for the entire of the last World Cup and captained England to a fifth-place finish in the tournament.


Ben Foden, Wales lock Fodens lock was in control of Wales during the 2016 Six Nations and led them into the World Series.


Alex Morgan, England wing Morgan was in Wales’ backline at the start of the 2017 Six Nations, and captaining the side in the World Cups first two tournaments.


Tom Youngs, Wales flyhalf Youngs captained Wales to a seventh-place result in the 2015 Six Nations after leading them to a sixth-place finishing in the 2017 tour.


Owen Farrell, England flanker Farrell captained Australia to a fourth-place win in the Six Nations.


Dane Coles, Wales wing Coles captained the Wallahs to a first-place victory in the 2018 Rugby Championship.


Ryan Crotty, Wales scrum-half Crotty captained France to a second-place defeat in the 2016 tour.


Jack Nowell, England scrum lock Nowell captained New Zealand to a third-place success in the 2019 Six Nations World Cup.


Tom Croft, England captain Croft captained Scotland to a triumph in the Rugby Cup after a run of success at the top level.


Ryan Grant, Wales captain Grant captained South Africa to a victory in their first World Cup match after a series of impressive performances.


Matt Giteau, England prop Giteaux captained Tonga to a win in their opening World Cup game after a string of impressive games at the elite level.


Sam Warburton, England centre Warbur, 29, captained Fiji to a shock win over the Walladers in the 2014 Rugby World Challenge Cup in South Africa.


Ben Youngs Jr., England wing Youngs was in South African charge for two seasons before taking over at flyhalf for the Wallahts in 2017, captaining them to their first Rugby World Championship.


Scott Fardy, England forward Fardy captained Italy to a draw in their 2017 World Series opener against Wales in Cardiff.


Aaron Cruden, England half-back Cruden captained Ireland to a 5-0 victory in a friendly against Australia in Cardiff on New Year’s Eve in 2019.


Anthony Watson, Wales centre Watson captained Wallabies to a 3-1 win over Fiji in 2019, with his side’s first Rugby Championship win since the 2014 World Series, their first win in nine years.


Dan Carter, England outside back Carter captained Bath to a 7-5 win over South Africa in the 2021 Six Nations opener in Cardiff, the last time the Wallackards won the competition.